by Clyde Lewis

Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.

Looking around, it may be uncomfortable to realize that our concepts of where humanity is going are changing. The present seems to have the appearance of the dark future that we have read about in the bible or heard from some deranged soothsayer. In the past, we wrote about our visions of the future. That future is now our present. And in this present we crave those visions of the future that were written about in the past.

Prophets, seers and science fiction writers have warned us about irrational decisions and how they can erode away some of the foundation of common sense. There were others that wrote novels and told stories of hope and civilizations that shared a common goal of sustaining life and seeking out that life in other distant realms of the universe.

We want that future back.

We need to take steps to secure a future that will not crumble at the first sign of trouble. Something that is tangible and creative. Something that will somehow give us peace of mind.

George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and 1984, said that those who control the past control the future.

His point was to illustrate how we tend to forget history. As now, there have always been many people in power who feel that, if they can change the past and teach a contrived history, they may be able to erase uncomfortable truths that have slept in the unconscious.

The past, present and future run the risk of being changed as easily as people's beliefs.

We see it every day.

I remember that one of my close girlfriend's daughters was failing in her history class. I talked with her on the phone and she told me that History wouldn't matter to her when she was an adult. She rationalized that history was not an important factor in her life.

I was saddened.

It seems that this attitude is a prevailing one, one that needs to be altered in order for any kind of meaningful change to take place on this planet.

History haunts us every day. It is a ghost that should serve us instead of frighten us. For most people the hardest pill to swallow is that we are slaves to our own fear. Not just the immediate fear of terrorism, but the fear of cataclysm that has been hardwired into our brains. In 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky published Worlds In Collision, a book detailing that in antiquity, catastrophe and cosmic upheaval were reoccurring events. Velikovsky's research led to the disturbing conclusion that early civilizations were nearly destroyed by the close approach of a great comet.

From ancient texts and papyri we read that perhaps "creation" was not creation at all but a transitory moment where a reorganizing and rebuilding took place after a cosmic catastrophe. Those who were prepared before the great catastrophe knew how to take the building blocks for creation and apply them to a renewed earth. These would have then become known as the gods.

In an entirely different scenario, there could have been building blocks for life floating around in space, eventually coming to earth. Through a long process of evolution, these building blocks eventually divided and grew in much the same process as a sperm penetrates an ovum.

Picture the tail of the sperm cell. It travels a long way to get to the ovum, carrying information, building blocks and DNA necessary for the continued process of life. It penetrates the wall and delivers its cargo.

The earth is destroyed and the life process begins again.

Now, picture in your mind a comet heading for earth. It has a long tail. If we assume the theories of Fred Hoyle, it carries building blocks, information, and DNA to begin the life process on earth. It penetrates the earth's atmosphere and eventually delivers it's cargo.

And the life process begins.

It all looks the same... could it all be the same? Is this a piece of the cosmic puzzle? Could one cell be an entire universe, or a universe be only a cell in some organism?

Was the earth destroyed by some unbelievable cataclysm and then renewed as the building blocks for life were reintroduced to the earth, taken from some cosmic library or pantry?

Where were they stored ? How did they end up here?

It was Charles Fort that theorized that the world or the universe as a single macro-creature, an "organic existence", and that we owe this existence to some controller who had the wisdom to construct the earth and the universe similar to a human body. Something, or someone, sent building blocks for life to this planet knowing full well that they would take root and that a planet that was destroyed by cataclysm could be renewed again with DNA from beings that previously existed and thought of saving their seed for future planting.

"I think we're property. I should say we belong to something. That once upon a time, this earth was No-man's Land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought amongst themselves for possession, but that now it's owned by something." --Charles Fort

Fort had envisioned extraterrestrial tinkering. However, he stopped short of declaring them "humanlike" or "anthropomorphic." He often discussed the concept that a rain of flesh and blood, and components for human life were sent to the planet from another place.

It was a great exodus of life forms from another existence fighting in order to win the prize of life on planet earth.

These life forms were more visceral in nature.

Perhaps they were microbial.

From the smallest of cells, life on Planet Earth came into being, and the beauty of creation continued. The challenge of all mankind is to somehow continue the process to ensure that the cosmic garden produces a good crop.

If it happened in our ancient past, then it could be happening now. There is evidence that water and biological organisms exist all over the universe. These may have been transported both naturally and with the help of sentient beings.

We can extrapolate the natural means of transportation of life from Fred Hoyle 's research model. Meteorites have been found on Earth that originated on Mars, which proves that material from one planet can travel to another. Since we have strong evidence to suggest that life has existed on Mars and perhaps still does, we can theorize that it might have been borne here by the meteors.

We have found life in the harshest environments on Earth, so why couldn't it exist in similar environments off of this planet? In fact, as mentioned in our last Ground Zero article, Genesis: It Is Only The Beginning, we found a streptococcus bacterium in the Surveyor 3 lunar lander, a common terrestrial organism that had survived in an airless environment in the cold of space, conditions we had thought were uninhabitable by life.

In the future it seems that our fight for survival and renewal will be forever shrouded in fear and ignorance. Fresh courage is needed in our brave new world to dodge the obstacles of chaos and despair. We must find a way to preserve our lives. We must cherish our unique place in the universe and realize the treasure that is our human existence.

It is time for the world to awaken and begin to rely on personal revelation and preparation. We must all realize that we are visitors on this planet and that the planet is like a pebble in a turbulent ocean that may rock at any moment, creating a chain of cataclysmic events that could wipe us out without a trace.

For the first time in human history, we can move beyond the confines of Earth, its life spreading to the rest of the universe, beginning a new evolution.

Is life limited to the earth after all, or can it indeed move beyond its home planet?

We now have the technology to create whole ecologies and engineer their inhabitants. We can take the steps necessary to continue that evolution in extraterrestrial environments.

We must act cautiously and with wisdom.

We must provide everything necessary for a wide range of organisms to reproduce in space. We must also engineer artificial ecosystems that will best facilitate this reproduction. Then, observing our results, we will find answers to questions about life on Earth and in the universe beyond.

Sample return missions are part of the ongoing search for these answers. The data collected from the probes is intended to provide important details about the nature and origin of life on and off the earth.

But the failure of the Genesis probe mission, which was key to this purpose, was a major disappointment. Scientists wanted to capture a sample of particles from the sun, the very source of the energy needed to sustain life. The sun is made up primarily of hydrogen and helium, but the other elements are also there. Those in charge of Genesis wished to determine the exact composition of the sun. Understanding that composition would be the first step to understanding how our solar system might have been formed.

The silicon wafers in the Genesis probe contained samples of the sun. Now those samples may be useless, our investment wasted.

But there may be worse consequences than losing our money.

In Genesis: It Is Only The Beginning, the focus was aimed at giving a warning about sample return missions that may contaminate the earth. While NASA contends that the samples on Genesis posed no risk of contaminating the earth, we must stress that with these sample return missions comes a very important responsibility.

Missions such as these go on without any input form the general public. If such experiments are to continue, it is important to have checks and balances in place, and to apply planetary protection principles to the planning process, if we are to avoid harmful cross-contamination of the planets. Many of our scientists worry about our capacity for contamination of celestial property. But it goes both ways.

Bringing something to earth from deep space can jeopardize the well-being of the planet.

That is why it is important for the people of Earth, to encourage the funding for the construction of a laboratory in space. Not just any laboratory but an exobiology laboratory that can serve as a historic preserve for life forms that exist in space, and the life that exists here on Planet Earth.

How could this be done?

Going back to the moon is a good start.

New York University Professor and space development author William Burrows believes that it is imperative that we plan new missions to the moon, and that we create a settlement there in order to "maximize the chances of our species' survival in an abidingly dangerous world."

"The current U.S. and international space program is in serious disarray for lack of a single, truly vital, and far-reaching goal. That goal should be to protect Earth from catastrophe. Chaos and violence are everywhere in the universe, as shown by the phenomenal imagery sent back by the Vikings and Voyagers the threat of a celestial catastrophe like a collision with an asteroid or an earthbound series of major natural disasters like volcanoes, earthquakes, chemical and nuclear terrorism, could destroy civilization as we know it."--William E. Burrows speaking at the 4th annual Lunar Development Conference

Burrows also proposes something known as the "Alliance to Rescue Civilization" or ARC. The idea is to continuously copy Earth's overall civilization and nature – most or all of what we are -- and send it elsewhere for safekeeping. It is as if we were backing up the earth's hard drive, saving and updating the entire history, politics, science, technology, art and literature of all nations and societies.

The idea would be to privately fund a library and laboratory in a space station located on the moon. It would be close enough to access if there was a global emergency, but far enough away from the earth to keep our civilization's backup intact and isolated from any global calamity.

Despite good progress towards the US Spaceguard Goal which is to detect about 90% of Near Earth Asteroids measuring at 1 kilometer or more by 2008, there are still plenty of gaps in our defenses where something could slip through the cracks and cause an extinction level scenario on earth.

With sufficient resources there is the potential, within a10-year period , to eliminate the threat of global catastrophe from short period asteroids.

However, this does not guarantee that that the an airburst similar to the Tunguska event of 1908 wouldn't occur and cause massive devastation in any particular area. The Tunguska event was an unbelievable explosion that occurred in the skies over Siberia. It was caused by the impact and breakup of a large meteorite, at an altitude six kilometers in the atmosphere. The effect was similar to a 12.5 megaton hydrogen bomb.

The explosion could be heard over 600 kilometers away. Ten million trees were flattened to the ground. Shockwaves were detected moving around the earth twice, recorded in London on barographs. For three nights people in Europe were able to read in darkness without the aid of artificial light.

What if something exploded over earth that was much larger?

A close call for the planet is in the works for September 29th, 2004. Asteroid 4179 Toutatis will pass within 1 million miles of the earth. Scientists say that computer models reveal that Toutatis has dimensions of 2.9 miles by 1.5 miles by 1.2 miles. Toutatis is one of the strangest objects in the solar system. Its shape is highly irregular and has an extraordinarily complex "tumbling" rotation. This makes its movements unpredictable and a cosmic white-knuckle affair for astronomers. Strange how reminiscent this is of a certain probe that wobbled erratically on its way down to crash in the Utah desert earlier this same month.

Chances are Toutatis will miss Earth, but it will clearly strike up those "what-if" discussions over coffee and apple pie. People will go to their bibles and look up apocalyptic yarns, and cross-reference them to news events that show great signs and wonders in heaven. Prophecies are dark and vague things; they are written for all of us to try and interpret.

They are also there for us to consider as warnings of what might happen.

Now, at the dawn of the new millennium, it is time to think with our 21st century minds instead of our 20th century minds. We have been told to be prepared for 21st century threats, yet the definition of those threats has been limited to the movements of a small group of terrorists.

In the future there will be no government, religion, nor terrorist group that will stand if the earth should be annihilated by an extinction level event. Our leaders are telling us that we need to be up for new challenges, even while their myopic vision limits our growth.

The only thing worse than the death and decay of flesh and blood is the death and decay of hope itself.

Some of us cry out for real challenges, real beginnings and real hope. Not platitudes delivered by elitist candidates who make up their platforms as they go along. As I have said before, we want our future back.

We should demand it, for we have fallen into a hole of mediocrity. It is important, when we choose our leaders and make our decisions in the future, that they open the doors for a new frontier -- one without limits, without fear and without chaos and despair.

One with direction and purpose, with an eye single to the edification of a solid promise of vitality and life that can be seeded throughout the known universe.

Let this be our prayer if we are ever forced into our exodus from the cradle into cosmic adulthood.